Sound: the Queen's reception at Tirau, 1953

Hear about the reception at Tirau and the use of flowers to celebrate the Queen’s visit.


I think too, of the people who waited cheerfully all day under a blazing sun, in terrific heat, in the Tirau Domain on New Year’s Day. Tirau, whose normal population of about 600 leapt to 7000 on that day – many came upwards of 50 miles to be there.

And how can we forget that magnificent floral carpet round the dais, a loving, loyal gesture from the women of the district. Flowers did express in tangible form the feelings of everyone throughout New Zealand, particularly the womenfolk. I can see again the bowers of flowers in hotel lounges, at civic functions, that wonderful arch at Timaru’s Ashbury Park, and the hanging baskets along the entire length of Dunedin’s main street. Private houses gaily decorated with countless varieties of blooms, often a big hedge with the word ‘Welcome’ picked out in blue hydrangea heads. And I recall the surprise at seeing on a vivid green hillside on a main road in Southland the symbol ‘ER II’, written boldly in hay bales – a delightful tribute from a farmer. And those unscheduled, unrehearsed incidents – at Rotorua aerodrome, Mrs Muriwai, said to be 107 years of age, grasping the Queen’s hand for minutes, it seemed, and softly speaking her words of affection and loyalty. I recall with so much pleasure the Queen stopping her car on several occasions to accept bouquets from the hot little hands of children on the roadside, children who had waited for hours for this enchanting, fleeting, never-to-be-forgotten moment.

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